Symbolism in the Lottery

1391 Words Sep 27th, 1999 6 Pages
Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery”, clearly expresses her feelings concerning traditional rituals through her story. It opens the eyes of readers to properly classify and question some of today’s traditions as cruel, and allows room to foretell the outcome of these unusual traditions. “The Lottery” is a short story that records the annual sacrifice ceremony of a fictional small town. It is a detailed narrative of the selection of the person to be sacrificed, a process known to the townspeople as “the lottery”. This selection is extremely rich in symbolism. Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to make readers aware of the pointless nature of humanity regarding tradition and violence. There are …show more content…
The black spot drawn on the deciding slip of paper is black to represent the death it brings. The pieces of paper that are lifted away by the breeze are symbolic of the ease with which life can be taken. However, is also symbolic of vast civilizations that were doomed to eventual failure for believing in and acting on tradition and not living according to the word of God. Readers see that even as Tessie is being stoned to death, she does not question the reasoning behind the lottery. She questions why it should be she that has to die. Numbers serve many symbolic roles it “The Lottery”. The stool the black box sits on has three legs, Tessie Hutchinson has three children. The lottery occurs on the twenty -seventh day of June, and the oldest man in the town has been to seventy-seven lotteries. The number three has two meanings in this short story. The first is the Christian concept of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The box, and thus the lottery itself, rests upon the Christian concept of religion. The number three also represents the three different attitudes of the townspeople toward the lottery. Most of the Flowers 4 people seem to be indifferent. People continue the lottery as it was done before them simply because they know no other way. The second attitude is that of concern. Some townspeople are starting to question the tradition. Both Mr. and Mrs. Adams, show some interest in distant towns who discontinued
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